Research and studies are being carried out around the world on the impact risk of chemical substances on the environment and people’s health. Europe, in particular, has taken the lead in expanding its regulations. Canon strives to grasp new regulatory trends at an early stage and take action, ensuring that it provides products that are safe for the environment and people in every country and region where Canon products are used.
Canon has built a Group-wide environmental assurance system for managing chemical substances in products. Taking the laws and major environmental-labeling requirements around the world into consideration, we established in-house standards in line with the most stringent regulations in the world. Specifically, our management system classifies chemical substances into three categories: “prohibited substances,” which cannot be used in products; “use-restricted substances,” for which we are working to find alternatives by specific deadlines; and, “controlled substances,” the amount of which should be monitored.
Following the amendment of the European Union’s RoHS Directive, from July 22, 2019, the use of 4 phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIBP) will be restricted in electrical and electronic equipment sold on the EU market. These substances are in general use as plasticizers for improved flexibility and moldability, for instance in the covering of electric power cables. As part of its Green Procurement system, Canon has identified products containing the phthalates and has been preparing for the new regulation by working with parts suppliers on evaluations and studies and investigation of alternatives. These activities mean that customers will be able to continue using our products with complete confidence after the amendment of the RoHS Directive. The Phthalates are known to have the property of migration, which means that matter can be transferred to other products on contact. Canon is responding by ensuring compliance with industry guidelines throughout the supply chain.
To manage chemical substances appropriately, it is important to share information on the chemical substances contained in materials, parts, and products accurately and efficiently along the supply chain from upstream to downstream, and to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.
In the past, companies each employed their own survey formats to request the suppliers for the information about chemical substances in products, which meant that suppliers were requested to respond to their customers multiple times in different formats even with regard to the same parts or chemicals. This situation incurred substantial burden on and costs to the entire supply chain. Furthermore, using such a variety of survey formats gave rise to concerns about the decreased reliability of data as it was communicated across the supply chain.
Amid such circumstances, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan) decided to sponsor chemSHERPA (chemical information SHaring and Exchange under Reporting PArtnership in supply chain) as a common platform for sharing information, facilitating the seamless transmission of information between companies to confirm compliance with regulations on chemical substances in products.
Applying the IEC62474* international standard, the chemSHERPA data scheme enables the management of compliance verifications for chemical substance regulations for each material and part. It is expected to enable more effective verifications as well, since revisions to regulations are updated in a timely manner.
Having previously collected and managed information on chemical substances contained in products in line with IEC62474, Canon completed the introduction of chemSHERPA in 2017. Since its introduction by Canon, more than 99% of survey replies have been made through chemSHERPA. This has led to increased workplace efficiency. Some suppliers have also adopted pre-filled survey replies that contain some of the required information. This shift to a more standardized approach contributes further to operational efficiency.
Meanwhile, for suppliers who have difficulty with the reply process, guide manuals in Japanese, English and Chinese have been prepared to promote the progressive global adoption of chemSHERPA.
* IEC62474: Material Declaration for Products of and for the Electrotechnical Industry. International standards issued by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) in March 2012 aiming to streamline the material declarations on chemical substances and compositions contained in the products of the electrotechnicalindustry in the global supply chain.
Canon separates the chemical substances, regulated in terms of safety such as negative impact on human health, the environment, and flammable risk, into three categories. In turn, effective measures are in place for each category.View more
The chemical substances handled during manufacturing at Canon include “controlled chemical substances” regulated in terms of safety such as negative impact on human health, the environment, and flammable risk. Canon separates these substances into three categories: A) Prohibited substances; B) Emission reduction substances; and C) Regulated substances. In turn, effective measures are in place for each category.
A) Prohibited substances;
Prohibited substances are defined as specified greenhouse gases (PFC/HFC/SF6), other soil and groundwater pollutants, and substances that significantly impact people’s health.
B) Emission reduction substances;
Greenhouse gases other than PFC/HFC/SF6, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other substances specified by Canon are designated as emission reduction substances.
C) Regulated substances
Regulated substances are chemical substances with defined compliance requirements, including compliance with reference values and the ascertainment of usage and storage quantities.
Canon engages in various initiatives at its operational sites to reduce emissions of controlled chemical substances, including reducing the consumption and re-use of them through improvement of production processes.
Total emissions of controlled chemical substance in 2019 amounted to 452 tons, a year-on-year decrease of 135 tons, which was achieved through activities to reduce chemical substances used in the production process and measures to promote re-use.
Canon alleviates the environmental impact of its operational sites by reducing emissions of NOx*1 and SOx*2, which are major causes of air pollution and acid rain; reducing discharges of phosphates and nitrogen compounds, which cause the eutrophication of water environments; and, reducing BOD*3 and SS*4, which indicate an environmental impact in water areas. One example of this is Canon Components, the first member of the Group to introduce wastewater treatment based on the membrane separation activated sludge system. This method uses membrane filtration for solid-liquid separation in order to ensure reliable treatment of the various types of process effluent that result from the wide range of production items it handles. Compared to the previous method using pressure flotation, the system achieves lower and more stable BOD values in the wastewater.
To prevent air pollution, when installing or updating equipment that uses fuel, we opt for fuels that minimize generation of air pollutants (such as sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and soot), and have banned the use of heavy oil in principle.
Furthermore, we have designated ozone-depleting substances and persistent organic pollutants cited in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as banned substances.
With regard to wastewater, each operational site sets standard values based on local laws and regulations. Also, control values are set at 80% of the standard values as management standards at each site. We regularly check the status of compliance with management standards.
As a result of implementing an environmental management system coordinated across the Group, Canon came through 2019 without a single legal violation or accident that seriously impacted the environment (incl. water quality / quantity permits). The Canon Group also did not incur any fines. Operational sites received complaints about issues such as facilities generating noise and foul odors emitted by factories, all of which were resolved satisfactorily via appropriate measures.
Canon places high priority on soil and groundwater protection. In line with this, we established the Canon Group’s Basic Policy on Soil and Groundwater Pollution and implement comprehensive measures based on it. In the unlikely event that soil or groundwater pollution is found at one of our operational sites, cleanup and remedial actions are carried out in close accordance with all relevant laws.
Also, our standard when acquiring new land is to conduct a preliminary soil examination and carry out any other necessary procedures, such as soil remediation, before making the purchase. We also monitor the chemical substances used at each site, remaining fully aware of the national and regional standards where each site is located in order to implement countermeasures according to the situation at each location.
|Shimomaruko||Trichloroethylene, etc.||Water quality measurement|
|Utsunomiya parking lot 1||Fluorine and its compounds, etc.||Pumping, water quality measurement|
|Toride||Trichloroethylene, etc. Hexavalent chromium and its compounds||Pumping, excavation and elimination, water quality measurement|
|Bando||1,1-dichloroethylene, etc.||Pumping, covering, water quality measurement|
|Nagahama Canon||Hexavalent chromium and its compounds||Covering, water quality measurement|
|Canon Components||Mercury and its compounds||Covering, water quality measurement|
*Reports are made to the authorities concerning sites where purification is in progress.
Going forward, we will continue with the above initiatives and carry out monitoring and reporting of operational sites with completed remediation in a timely manner.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a body that carries out international standardization in all electrical, electronic and related technologies. As a member of the Technology Committee (TC111) that formulates its environment-related standards, Canon contributes in particular to the formulation of standards for information sharing on chemical substances contained in products. In this way, we work in partnership with specialists worldwide to upgrade the sharing of supply chain information.
Based on supply chain information published by the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) — a Chinese environmental NGO—we help secondary and tertiary manufacturers and other Chinese businesses located in the upstream of the supply chain to reduce environmental risk by making recommendations and carrying out improvements. By sharing information regularly and communicating with the IPE on best practise, we contribute to reducing environmental risk throughout the supply chain.
In accordance with relevant laws, Canon strictly manages polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), which damages living organisms and the environment. As of December 2018, 13 operational sites were storing PCB waste. In terms of highly concentrated PCB waste, there are 5 capacitors and transformers and 1,922 fluorescent ballasts in storage. This PCB waste is processed sequentially by the Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corporation (JESCO).